Swarm Pictures, Traps, Heat and Harvest

It's been an exciting couple of months. We're now back up to 23 hives as one of our new-found neighbors wanted to keep the swarm that showed up on their property. Fortuitously, they have the most amazing garden of all Oak Grove, Oregon, and are inclined to trade us an almost-unlimited supply of beautiful organic produce.

The top bar hives throughout Oak Grove/Milwaukie, Oregon are absolutely booming. The two top bar hives in our back yard are so full of bees that at night, when the entire population is home, there are at least 1000 bees huddling together outside the entrance. Out of the 30 bars they've been given, they've already filled up at least 26, meaning that harvest time is here! Yesterday I harvested the first bar of honeycomb from one of the backyard hives. Later this week, after acquiring 20 food grade buckets, I will be harvesting from the rest in preparation for the massive loads of blackberry nectar that are beginning to show up.

 Comb prior to crushing and straining a comb that isn't capped, but we ate it anyway!: 



Comb after crushing:

Here's are some pictures of one of the Warre hive swarms from our backyard last month:

As said before, the blackberries are beginning to flow in the Pacific Northwest. Being our largest nectar flow, I am excited to see how quickly the girls fill up their top bar hives. I am a tad concerned about the winery Warre hives as they haven't been inclined to build in the bottom box, thus likely making them interested in swarming as their populations begin to rise. I moved a few bars of comb down to the bottom box on all the Warre hives in hopes that they will begin building below. Next weekend I'll check them and plan to see gloriously-full boxes ready for a third.

Here's a view into a top bar hive from a few weeks ago:

In the window:

Bee chains:

View from inside:

Bar removed:

The past few weeks have been incredibly hot for the Portland metro area, with temperatures reaching the low-90s, leaving the bees working overtime attempting to cool their hives and evaporate their honey. Here's a picture of one of the hives at Eleanore's house in Oak Grove attempting to stay cool:

Over the past month I've also had the opportunity to do a great deal of education of neighbors and the public on beekeeping and foundationless methods. Here's another shot of Eleanore's yard where I was giving a brief overview of top bar beekeeping to the neighborhood leaders:

Lastly, one of my favorite hives that has been most prolific swarmed a couple weeks ago and landed on the same tree all of the other swarms frequent. To my delight, dozens of bees were checking out the swarm trap on the back of our shed. I decided to let nature take it's course, in hope that the bees would find the trap to be a worthy home. Sadly, I returned from wine country to find the bees were gone and the trap was empty.


View of trap from swarm:

Trap being closely examined by scout bees:

Even the bumble bees don't like the heat!:


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